Here’s how to choose clothes that fit

You can’t rely on clothing sizes to help you find clothes that fit. Here’s how to build a wardrobe that truly works for you

Here's how to choose clothes that fit

Source: Web exclusive, April 2011

1. Understand what good fit is

Many women wear casual clothes and knits, which tend to be stretchy. As a result, most of us have never experienced a truly good fit. ‘Well-fit clothing allows comfort with enough ease for the movement expected when wearing the type of clothing, without being sloppy or baggy,’ says Lucia Dell’Agnese, Lucia Dell’Agnese, associate chair of the School of Fashion at Ryerson University in Toronto.

When selecting a garment, consider what it’s make of and what you’ll use it for.  ‘A ski jacket will have to fit and move differently than a jacket you’ll only be wearing in the car,’ explains Marilyn McNeil Morin, chair of fashion studies and performing arts at Toronto’s George Brown College. Similarly, a garment made of Spandex material will fit differently than one made of polyester or cotton. Even if what you’re trying on feels comfortable, Morin advises looking for signs that it may not be fitting well: ‘Seams should align to the lines of the body and the garment should not be pulling or stretching.’

2. Get to know your body

Not every trend works for every woman. Jeans with a low rise may be all the rage, but if you keep striking out when trying on low-rise jeans, finding that they always sit too high on your torso, or halfway down your hips, they may not be right for you. Next time you go shopping, take a pair cut with a higher rise into the change room with you. You might be surprised at how good they look. Trying on a wide range of clothing, instead of the same types over and over, can help you find new styles that feel and look better on you.

3. Find brands and labels that suit you

‘When you discover a store or clothing line that flatters your body and fits you well, you will likely find that they will be consistent in this,’ Morin advises. To save yourself some time and frustration, keep going back to the stores with clothes that have fit you well in the past. But don’t get stuck in a fashion rut: ‘Often we find a label we like and don’t look around for what could possibly be better fits,’ says Dell’Agnese.

4. Give yourself lots of time

Stop making those last-minute, post-work, super-stressful trips to the mall in to look for perfect party dress. It may seem unnecessary, but scheduling a few hours, or even an entire day, is key for successful shopping. ‘Finding the time is always the problem,’ says Dell’Agnese. ‘But when we feel rushed, we’re more likely to grab the first few items we see, not necessarily the ones that fit us best.’

5. Bring a buddy

Whether it’s a friend, family member or partner, a companion can help you be more efficient and make better decisions while shopping. Bring someone who will be honest and who will enjoy helping you find what looks and fits best. Most importantly, as Dell’Agnese advises: ‘Bring someone who won’t be swayed by the [size] number on the tags.’

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